The Top Causes of Blocked Drains and How to Prevent Them

Blocked drains are a common issue in households across Australia. They can be frustrating, messy, and even pose a health hazard if left untreated. Understanding the causes of blocked drains and how to prevent them can help you avoid costly plumbing repairs and maintain a hygienic living environment. In this article, we will discuss the top causes of blocked drains and provide practical tips to prevent them.


Blocked drains are a common household problem that can cause inconvenience and, if left untreated, lead to costly repairs. A blocked drain can occur due to a variety of reasons, and identifying the cause is the first step towards preventing it from happening in the future. This article will discuss the top causes of blocked drains and how you can prevent them.

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What are Blocked Drains?

A blocked drain occurs when water, waste, and debris cannot flow freely through a drainage system, causing the pipe to become clogged. This can result in slow draining, overflowing toilets or sinks, and even foul odours.

Top Causes of Blocked Drains

Tree Roots

Tree roots can cause significant damage to drainage systems, especially in older homes. Tree roots can grow through small cracks in the pipes, causing blockages and even rupturing the pipe. The best way to prevent tree root blockages is by keeping trees and shrubs away from the drainage system and regularly maintaining the drainage system.

Fats, Oils, and Grease

Fats, oils, and grease are common culprits of blocked drains in the kitchen. These substances can harden and stick to the inside of pipes, causing blockages. To prevent this, ensure that fats, oils, and grease are disposed of properly, such as by using a grease trap or pouring the waste into a sealed container for disposal.

Foreign Objects

Foreign objects, such as sanitary products, wet wipes, and nappies, are often flushed down the toilet and can cause blockages in the drainage system. These items do not break down easily and can accumulate in the pipes, causing significant blockages. It’s important to only flush toilet paper down the toilet to prevent blockages.

Hair and Soap Scum

Hair and soap scum can accumulate in bathroom drains, causing blockages. Hair can become tangled and cause a blockage, while soap scum can harden and cause the drain to become blocked. To prevent these blockages, use a drain cover or strainer to prevent hair from entering the drain and regularly clean the drain to remove soap scum build-up.

Flushing Inappropriate Items

Flushing inappropriate items down the toilet, such as cotton buds, dental floss, and medication, can cause significant blockages in the drainage system. These items can get caught in the pipes and create blockages, leading to costly repairs. Always dispose of these items in the bin to prevent blockages.

How to Prevent Blocked Drains

Proper Waste Disposal

Proper waste disposal is key to preventing blocked drains. Ensure that fats, oils, and grease are disposed of properly, only flush toilet paper down the toilet, and dispose of inappropriate items in the bin.

Regular Drain Cleaning

Regular drain cleaning can prevent blockages from occurring. This can be done using a plunger, drain snake, or with the help of a professional plumber. Regular cleaning can remove any debris that has built up in the pipes and prevent blockages from occurring.

Avoid Using Chemical Drain Cleaners

Chemical drain cleaners can be harsh and cause damage to pipes. They can also be ineffective in removing blockages, leading to more significant issues down the line. Instead of using chemical drain cleaners, consider using natural alternatives or seeking the help of a professional plumber.

Install Drain Screens

Drain screens can prevent hair and other debris from entering the drain, reducing the risk of blockages. They are easy to install and can be found at most hardware stores.

Regular Professional Plumbing Maintenance

Regular professional plumbing maintenance can identify and prevent blockages before they become significant issues. A plumber can perform a thorough inspection of the drainage system, identify any potential issues, and make repairs or recommendations for preventative maintenance.


Blocked drains can be a frustrating and costly problem for homeowners. Understanding the top causes of blocked drains and taking preventative measures can help prevent blockages from occurring and maintain a healthy living environment.


1. How do I know if my drain is blocked?

Slow draining, foul odours, and gurgling noises are all signs of a blocked drain.

2. Can I use hot water to clear a blocked drain?

Hot water can help loosen debris in the pipes, but it may not be enough to clear a significant blockage.

3. Can blocked drains cause health issues?

Blocked drains can pose a health hazard if left untreated, as they can lead to the growth of bacteria and mould.

4. How often should I clean my drains?

It’s recommended to clean drains at least once a year to prevent blockages from occurring. If you need to book that service you can contact us here

5. How much does it cost to repair a blocked drain?

The cost of repairing a blocked drain can vary depending on the severity of the blockage and the extent of the damage. It’s best to seek the help of a professional plumber for an accurate quote, which is where PM Plumbing can assist!

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